Picture of Founder

Rotary Photovoltaic System Inaugurated on 9 October 2021

Photovoltaic ProjectSince 2006, JLSS was working on reducing its diesel and electricity expenditure and becoming a model institution for green energy.
The first step of implementing this vision was with the installation of solar water-heaters for all buildings. The second step was upgrading all central heating systems through a long-term energy plan kindly supported by EVS/EMS.
For many years, Mr. Rolf Bartel regularly visited JLSS to complete this task and integrate all solar heating panels not only for domestic hot water but also to reduce diesel expenditure of central heating. All boiler rooms were upgraded, and diesel expenditure was reduced by almost 60% through the implementation of these modern systems.
EVS/EMS not only helped implement and finance this plan but also enabled JLSS to import the necessary parts and pipes from Germany to bring JLSS energy savings to this advanced level.
The third part of this vision was the installation of a photovoltaic system to use the sun to generate the electricity that the school utilizes. The Rotary Foundation, through its many clubs abroad and their partnership with RC Beirut Cosmopolitan, supported this vision through two main projects: The first was to upgrade the grid and replace the street lights that consumed a huge amount of energy with modern LED energy-efficient street lights. This stage prepared the way for the implementation of the second stage of installing a photovoltaic system to generate electricity.
Mr. Toni Asfour, our dedicated board member and tireless Rotarian, was the person behind all our Rotary projects. He was relentless in helping JLSS advance its systems and teaching programs. His tragic passing away made us think that the second part of this plan to implement a photovoltaic system was gone.
This was the case until Rev. Traugott Plieninger visited JLSS with one of the groups led by our dear friend, former JLSS Head of the Vocational Department, and current EVS board member, Anselm Kreh.
Rev. Plieninger took it upon himself to help JLSS realize its dream of a photovoltaic system. He worked tirelessly as president of RC Bietigheim-Vaihingen (2019-2020) to get support for this project from other Rotary clubs. He was determined to raise the needed funds. He succeeded through his partnership with RC Beirut Cosmopolitan. The project was completed and inaugurated on 9 October 2021.
His speech for the inauguration below presents the best description of this wonderful story of yet another wonderful Rotary project for our school.

Photovoltaic ProjectRC Bietigheim-Vahingen
District 1830  
Traugott Plieninger
President 2019-2020

Speech at the inauguration of the photovoltaic system at Johann Ludwig Schneller School in Khirbet Qanafar, West-Beqaa, Lebanon

Dear governor Ashot Karapetyan,
Dear president Sona Kourtian from RC Beirut-Cosmopolitan,
Dear past president Habib Saba and all friends of RCBC who are now with us,
Dear incoming governor George Mitri Azar,
Dear assistant governor and Rotarian friends from RC Zahlé and other Rotary Clubs,
Dear director George Haddad,
Dear responsibles of SMART AGE Beirut who built this plant,

I am extremely pleased that we can be here today to hand over this facility to the Johann Ludwig Schneller School for the manifold benefit of the school, the lessons and the training that take place here for children and young people in the various age groups up to completion of vocational training.
I do not want to say my words of thanks for the support without remembering first and foremost the late Tony Asfour who still gave his blessing and support at the very beginning of the project (my first contact was to him!), also not without mentioning especially Past President Adib Mounla and our Rotarian friend George Beyrouti who were my direct partners in 2019/2020 and did a lot for the project. It's fate that they can't be there today. I think they would like to be.
Photovoltaic ProjectIt was three years ago, dear director George Haddad, when I was here with Anselm Kreh's group, that we talked about the needs of the school and that you told me your request to equip the school with a photovoltaic system. This would be helpful for the power supply of the buildings and at the same time a model for future technology from which the workshops could also benefit.
I have to admit that at that time I didn't know if it would be feasible. I was the incoming president of our club and made my plans for my year as president together with the friends on the board.
Photovoltaic ProjectBut we started to inquire with the German embassy and got a qualified recommendation for the company SMART AGE, which provided us with an assessment report for a photovoltaic system. This convinced us - but of course, it was much too expensive for our club Bietigheim-Vaihingen.
What should we do? I thought of choosing a small variant, photovoltaics for example for 1 building. But our friend Günter Owerfeldt had caught fire for the project and started to plan a benefit event, a concert with the Robert Bosch Orchestra in Advent 2019. At that time Corona was still far away, we heard of it as something in China...
In order to fill the music hall in Ludwigsburg for the concert, we invited the friends of our neighbor clubs, and so the project outgrew our club. Additional donations came in, and we set about finding out about global grant projects. Large grants from the Rotary Foundation were on the horizon if we could find a club in Lebanon to host. That was the easiest part of the whole project! I didn't even have to ask twice if we could join forces. The willingness and enthusiasm were there from the beginning. And what a wonderful friendship and what a lively contact came out of it!
I have to give thanks also to Rotary Club Ludwigsburg, Rotary Club Ludwigsburg-AltWürttemberg, Rotary-Club Backnang-Marbach, even our Rotarian friends of Austria from RC Feldbach joined overwhelming, the Rotary-Districts 1830, 1910 and 2452 did not let us down, but spurred us on with large district contributions to our grant application which the Rotary Photovoltaic ProjectFoundation funded with more than 50.000 USD. At the end, we had a financing volume of 140,000 USD.
So, it was no question for me, but a pleasure to accept joyfully the invitation for today and I immediately inquired about flights. One of our friends in RC BietigheimVaihingen, Georg Albrecht, has a travel agency. His employees supported me for this trip and prepared everything for me.
It is great what we now see here, and I think it will be seen that all the effort was worth it. I hope not only that the Johann Ludwig Schneller School will be able to benefit from green energy, but also, and above all, for the second part of the project, that the plant will be an impetus for the young trainees to get involved with this technology of the future and to become enthusiastic about photovoltaics. The teachers will certainly do their part to ensure that the Johann Ludwig Schneller School can be a role model in the region with this plant, a beacon, and that the young people who graduate here take the knowledge about photovoltaics and the enthusiasm for this type of energy generation into their future environment and implement it there. This school, with all its history, is a peace project: Peace among people, living together in different religions, coming from different backgrounds; but let us also add peace with nature! God has given us the sun and we can use its energy without harming the environment.
Now I wish the Johann Ludwig Schneller School God's continued blessing for all the good things that are happening here, the plant that it will generate good electricity for many, many years, and all of us that we will not run out of energy. Many thanks.
Bietigheim-Bissingen, Beirut / Khirbet Qanafar 2021-10-09
Traugott Plieninger


Photovoltaic ProjectThese wonderful words speak it all in a most wonderful way.
A very big thank you to Rev. Traugott Plieninger and RC Bietigheim-Vahingen
Thank you president Sona Kourtian and RC Beirut-Cosmopolitan
Thank you to all the other participating Rotary clubs:
Rotary Club Ludwigsburg
Rotary Club Ludwigsburg Alt-Württemberg
Rotary Club Backnang-Marbach
Rotary Club Feldbach (Austria)
Rotary District 1830
Rotary District 1910
Rotary District 2452
The Rotary Foundation


Photovoltaic Project

Schneller School Name in Arabic
Johann Ludwig Schneller Schule

Education for Peace since 1860